Philippa of Foix (fl. 13th c.)

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Philippa of Foix (fl. 13th c.)

Supporter of the heretical Cathar movement of southern France. Flourished in the 13th century in Foix.

Philippa of Foix, born into the lower nobility of France, was an active participant in the new religious sect called Catharism which swept southern France in the early 13th century. Also known as Albigensianism, its followers preached rejection of materialism and of the rituals of the Catholic Church. They also believed that women, through study, could become men's equals and could then preach themselves. Understandably, this sect attracted many French noble-women, including Philippa of Foix. Philippa made her castle a refuge for the perfecta, or "perfect ones," who were the priests of Catharism. After some time, Philippa's devotion to the sect led her to become one of the perfecta herself. Her fate after the Cathars were condemned as heretics by the pope is unclear, but it is known that many Cathars were burned at the stake for their heretical views.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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